Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bresaola - Drying

So, the bresaola cured in the salt and herb mix for 11 days, and it was time to put it into casings and hang to dry. I decided on 11 days because it felt cured. You could go a little longer, about 15-20 if you're unsure.
I'm trying something new here. Since I seem to be unable to develop mold on my salumi naturally, I resorted to spraying them (once cased) with a mold culture from Butcher Packer of Penecillium Nalgiovense. The mold on the casing slows the drying a little bit as well as impart flavor into the meat. We'll see if it makes any difference, more on that below.

I started by rinsing the meat off with cold running water, and drying it off well. Which is what is shown in the picture above.

I used 100mm collagen casings, and put the meat piece in there. You want to use a casing that is just about the same size as the meat, or as close as possible. I could have use a 90mm casing for a tighter fit, but I didn't have any, and this will be fine.

Twist the open end, and tie it off, trying to get out as much air as possible. There will still be a fair bit in there.

Using butcher knots tie off the bresaola every 2-3 inches. You want to make these nice and tight. The air will fill into pockets on the casing.

Using a clean toothpick or a sterilized needle prick the casing all over, concentrating on the pockets of air. Massage the meat to force the air out of the holes you just made. It may squirt some liquid, don't worry about it. Get all the air out of the casings. Weigh and label them.

12 hours prior I had made a solution of 1.5g of mold culture (M-EK-4) with 30g of water. I left it out at room temperature, and then added that to 400g of tap water in a spray bottle. Using this solution I sprayed the bresaole heavily until they were dripping, and put them in my fermentation box at 69 deg. for 36 hours. It is important that they hang without touching each other or the sides, as I noticed that the mold is not developing where they were touching each other.

After 36 hours, the bresaole get hung in the curing chamber at 54 deg. F and 70% RH.
At first it looked like nothing was happening that I would be getting no mold growth, but after 2 days, a nice bloom of mold was developing.

This picuture is after 5 days. The mold is developing beautifully.

I'll leave these in there until they've lost about 35% of their weight, I'm estimating about 50 days.

Tasting notes to come!


Monday, November 26, 2007

Bresaola - Curing

If you've ever eaten in a high falootin' Italian restaurant you've no doubt seen "bresaola" served with Parmigiano shavings, maybe some rucola/rocket/arugola salad, some nice oil and lemon juice.

Bresaola is a great cured meat. It isn't made from pork, which is uncommon as far as salumi go; it is made from beef, or also, quite commonly in Italy, horse or donkey. Basically a very lean piece of meat (most commonly beef, especially if bought commercially) is salt cured with spices, then dried.

Sliced thin it makes a superb antipasto when drizzled with a mixture of oil, lemon juice and black pepper, it great in a sandwich, and is delicious just eaten out of hand. This is one salume people worried about cholesterol and fat don't have to feel guilty about eating.

So lets get to how it can be made at home. Now, given the preliminary results of the survey, I'm going to post this without having tasted the results. This means my spices could be entirely out of whack. This is unlikely as I've made this before, but it might happen!

IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat
Eye of round1537100%
Salt ( Kosher)785%
Black pepper7.60.5%
Fresh rosemary3.50.25%
Juniper berries1.70.1%
Dry thyme1.50.1%
Cure #25.150.33%

EDIT 1/3/2014 : Since i posted this recipe i've moved to lower salt % in my whole muscle meats. I now use 3%. 5% is very high.

I started with 3 whole eye of round roasts (each one weighed about 1.5kg/3.5lbs). I made sure there was no surface fat or silver skin anywhere. You want the meat nice and clean, a solid block of meat. I like this cut because of the shape and size. It lends itself well to being put into casings.

Mix up the spice mixture after grinding the cinnamon, clove, and juniper berries, chopping up the rosemary and crushing the black peppercorns.Make sure you really mix everything up, especially if you're making a double or triple batch for 2 or 3 pieces of meat, as I did.

Take the mixture and really massage it into the meat. You really want to get the meat and salt nicely worked into it. This should take 1 or 2 minutes, don't do it for 15; this isn't a cow spa!

Take you piece of meat and put it into a ziplock bag, including all the salt and spices that fell off it while massaging it. Get out as much air as possible from the bag, and seal it up. Put it in the fridge for 15-21 days.
Massage the meat while it is in the bag every 2 or 3 days, flipping it to make sure it is getting even exposure to the liquid which will have formed in the bag.

This method can be used on many lean pieces of beef. My notes from 2005 tell me I used a rump roast once. As long as the piece is nice and large, somewhat regularly shaped and LEAN, you should be able to use it. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure why it HAS to be lean. I imagine a nicely marbled piece of beef would taste pretty good cured! But, as I've said, i like the eye of round, as it is a good size and shape.
Normally I'd use 1/2 eye of round roasts which are commonly found at markets, but this time i found whole ones. Either way, just scale the formula as needed by weight.

I'll be back in about a week to detail the casing and hanging. I'll be using 100mm casings for this.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Need an opinion about blog posts.

Need an opinion from my readers (anybody out there?)

As you know this is a slow hobby, and as you've seen posts are pretty infrequent (there really is only so much cured meat I can eat!). One way to speed up the posts very slightly would be to post the procedure for curing the meat separately from the tasting notes. Posting it all together makes it a little neater, and puts everything in 1 post, although the posts needs to wait for the meat to finish curing.

So, please vote in the poll on the sidebar to the right. One, longer post for each product, or separate each product into multiple posts to increase the frequency (slightly).



Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Finally a new post! Well, I had told you guys that this is a slow going hobby, and posts would come slowly. Hopefully I haven't lost everyone :)

This is one of the coppe which just came out of the curing chamber, the one on which I used my traditional dry salting method. The other, the wet cured one is still an unknown at this point.

Let me walk you through the process and the formula I used for this one. This assumes you've procured yourself a nice coppa from a shoulder, or by some other means. If you don't know what I'm talking about, use this link, to see my previous post on the subject.

IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat
Pork Coppa
Salt ( Kosher)
White Pepper
Cure #22

The curing procedure is really quite simple. Crush/grind the pepper and cloves, and massage this whole mixture onto the pork collar (the coppa). Really work it into the meat. Then put the whole thing, and any of the salt and spices which fell off during the massage into a zip lock bag, get as much of the air out as possible, and put it in the fridge.

Leave it in the fridge, massaging the meat every 3 or so days, for about 10-15 days. The length of the stay in the fridge will depend on the thickness and weight of the meat. It is better to leave it too long, than not long enough, so I would go with 15 days. This one cured for 9 days.

Once cured, remove from the fridge, rinse quickly under cold water, and then dry well.

Put it in a casing of the appropriate size. I used 100mm collagen casings. Tie the coppa up, if you want using butchers knots, and then prick profusely with a toothpick while squeezing the coppa in the casing to get as much of the air out as possible. Do this especially at the 2 ends, and anywhere you see pockets of air.

Hang the coppa in your curing chamber. I hung it at 55 def. F and about 75% RH, for 57 days. Until it lost about 36% of its weight.

Once cured I like to put the item (i do with with most of them, coppa, bresaola, salame) in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel, seal it up and put it in the fridge for a few days. This softens the really hard and dry casing and makes it much easier to peel.

Slice thinly and enjoy.
You can see what makes this piece of meat, and this salume, one of my favorites. The heavy marbling really gives the meat a lot of flavor and unctuousness. The meat really absorbs the flavors of the cure very well and every slice bursts with porky goodness.

So how does it taste? Well, this one in particular is very strong on the clove. I think I used about twice as much as I should have. The saltyness is good. It is dried just about enough to not be too hard to too soft. It is nice and meaty, and tastes pretty delicious. I think next time I'll use 1/2 the amount of clove, increase the white pepper a bit, and maybe add some additional spices like juniper or bay leaf.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

This coppa has me confused!

In the last post I told you I'd have an update on the coppa. Well, I do. Sort of. The coppas I have curing right now were made using 2 different methods. One was done using a "wet cure" brine in which the pork was soaked, the other was the usual "dry cure" using salt and spices.

Well, the one that was wet cured reached its "weight loss" goal of about 40%, but upon cutting into it, it did not look cured enough, and was still soft. So...back into the curing chamber to see if it salvageable. We'll see in a few weeks I guess. I'm confused about this one because at this weight loss it should be considerably firmer. I'm think the curing brine didn't reach the center of the meat, so this coppa may never be edible.

The other "dry cured" coppa isn't quite ready, I'm estimating another week or 2, and that one should work out, as I've used this formula before. We'll see in a couple week i guess!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Coppa butchery - How to harvest one

Coppa. What is coppa? Coppa is a muscle of the pork right behind the back of the head, at the top of the shoulder. In the cute little picture of pig parts on the left, it is #4. I guess in English it could be called "pork collar". In Italy this specific piece of meat is available at grocery stores to braise and to roast as "coppa fresca", but here in the US, it takes some effort to get a hold of. When cured it is a wonderful combination of meat and fat, heady from the aromatic spices and herbs in which is it cured. Sliced thin it is a classic on a plate of salumi (cured meats) and makes wonderful sandwiches. You may also know it by its southern Italian name of "capocollo", which translates to "top of the neck", which makes sense. Or you may have heard the word mangled and pronounced "capicola", which is a derivative of capocollo. How about we just stick to the real word: coppa.

So lets start with getting ourselves a piece of coppa. Your best bet, and what I normally do is harvest it from a whole pork shoulder/boston butt which i get at Costco. Sometimes unfortunately the Costco butchers mangle the shoulder so badly when they remove the bone that getting a nice hunk of coppa is near impossible. I've also found if you can find a nice LARGE piece of bone in shoulder/boston butt at the supermarket you can usually get a nice coppa out of it. With the rest make salame!

On the left here in the picture you see a whole shoulder from Costco. I put a blue rectangle around the coppa. I also labeled the direction where the pig's legs and head would be and where the shoulder bone used to be. Hopefully you can orient yourself.

Here the shoulder is lifted on its side. Again I labeled the coppa, and the direction where you'd find the feet, and the side where the skin would have been.

This is the same coppa but flipped over. You can see the nice fat striations in the muscle which will keep the coppa soft and make it tasty once cured. Hmmmmm faaaat.

Cut away the generally circular coppa, and shape it generally into a cylinder of meat and fat.

This is the other side of the coppa. It will end up being about 90mm/3.5" in diameter

You now have a coppa ready to be cured. Stay tuned for that post, which will be coming shortly. I'll be posting about 2 different methods for curing it.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Farmer pork Vs. Commercial pork - Cacciatorino: The Results

Well, it's finally time for the tasting of the cacciatorino salame. As you may remember the last post was the set up for an experiment. I wanted to see if using farmer raised heirloom pigs would make a difference in the flavor and quality of the salame. The formula was identical for both salami with the only variable being the meat used.

The salami were cured for 12 days at 54 deg. F and about 70% humidity. The Costco salame lost 43% of its weight, and the farmer one lost 40%.

So, is there a difference between the two salami?

The answer to that question is yes, but with qualifiers.

In the picture above are 2 slices of each salame. It is hard to show in the picture, even putzing with it in photoshop (I'll retake them tomorrow in natural light), but there is a visual difference. The farmer one is a lighter shade of red, almost a pink. The Costco is a deep ruby red, which is actually prettier looking. I would attribute this difference to the fact that the farmer pork has more intramuscular fat than the Costco pork.

The mouth feel is also different. The Costco one is a little chewier, while the farmer one is a bit softer and more tender. This is probably due to the fact that the farmer one lost a little bit less water. I prefer the chewier Costco.

Aroma. It is very similar for both. Mild, a bit peppery, and very nice.

Flavor. This is where the real differences come to light. I'll say it right out. The COSTCO salame was better. Yes. It was better. 5 people blind tasted both, and all 5 chose the Costco one. I'm rather amazed. The farmer one is considerably more sour. This might be because the breed of pig, or the way it is raised has an effect on the pH of the meat, with the farmer one being lower (more acidic) right off the bat. It is then fermented/acidified the same amount, but if the starting point of the farmer one is lower, the end point would be lower. I'm going to try testing the salame pH with some pH strips to see if it is actually lower, or if I'm imagining it. If it were not more sour the flavors I think would be almost identical (what I'm saying is that the only flavor difference most of us could taste was just the sour).

Now the qualifiers: First, the % weight loss of the two salami was different, not much, but different. I have another pair (1 farmer, 1 costco) still curing, which I'll remove at 49-50% weight loss, and I'll try to make sure they are as close as possible.

Second, I don't care for the products of this particular farmer. I've had their pork chops and was unimpressed. I used them because that is what was readily available for my experiment. I will repeat the experiment using the pork from a farmer I know is fantastic. His pork is so much better and different you'd think it is a different animal altogether. I'll also have to try to make sure the pHs are the same.

So the conclusion to the experiment is that, based on this, farmer pork is no where NEAR worth using at about 6 to 7 times the cost (after scrap and higher initial cost). Now, if you use it because you don't like how factory farms run, then go for it, but this farmer, this time, just wasn't worth it.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Farmer pork Vs. Commercial pork - Cacciatorino

There are a number of reasons people choose to buy farmer raised pork instead of commercially farmed pork, but for me, the most important is the flavor difference. Eating a farmer raised heirloom pork chop makes you wonder what you've been eating all these years. It is much juicier, and "meatier" tasting, really night and day. The image to the right shows both types. Right is farmer, left is Costco.

So, I've been wondering if that difference would be appreciable in a salame. It would only make sense that it would be. In order to test this theory I made a very simple salame keeping everything the same except the meat used. For commercial pork I used pork shoulders from Costco, which generally has good meat. The farmer pork was raised by a local farm here in Georgia.

To really taste the difference between the two porks, I decided to make a super simple salame. I would call this a cacciatorino even though it isn't of the appropriate shape for that name. It is made only of meat, fat, salt, pepper, and garlic infused wine (and starter culture and dextrose). The formula I used is as follows. The quantities are for the farmer salami I made, but using the % you can scale as you need.

IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat+Fat
Pork Shoulder81070%
Black Pepper30.26%
Cure #22.80.24%
F-RM-52 Starter10.09%
Reduced wine363.13%

This time I used a pork shoulder. This one pictured on the left is the one from a Berkshire pig from a local farmer, below that is the Costco shoulder (and their total mangling of it to remove the bone).As you can see the marbling is much greater than in a commercial shoulder.
As usual, this was trimmed, and cubed, removing as much sinew as possible.

I quickly realized that using pieces from the back leg, the ham, is much more efficient. It has less sinew, and the yield is much higher. With this bone in farmer piece my yield of trimmed, ready to grind eat, was low. I only got 45% usable meat. The Costco yielded about 60%.

I used pork belly again. It is really much more convenient than harvesting fatback from the skin portions I buy at the market. If there are large portions of meat in the belly, I remove them.

Using the formula above, I mixed my meat and fat cubes, and put them in the freezer for about 1 hour.

I ground using the 1/4" plate. You can see in the picture that partially freezing the meat and fat will give you nice definition in the chunks of fat and meat. If you don't, there is a chance that the fat will smear, and you won't end up with nice fat globules.

I mixed this on the lowest speed on the Kitchenaid mixer for 1 minute. Added everything except the starter culture. I mixed the meat and spices for about 1.5 minutes. (see finocchietto recipe for reduced wine/garlic info). Then added the starter culture which had been dissolved in 30g of distilled water 10 minutes prior. I mixed for another 30-45 seconds.

This is what the meat paste should look like when the mixing is done. A good bind has been achieved. You can see the white film on the sides of the bowl which is the myosin protein which has been pulled out of the meat by the salt (correct me if I'm wrong, chemists!)

The salami were stuffed into 4 43mm casings and 1 60mm casing. All the farmer pork fit into 2 43mm casings.
They were fermented at 83 deg. F for 26 hours for the 43mm, and 28 hours for the 60mm.

They were then put into the curing chamber held at 54 deg.F and 70% RH.
I'm trying a little higher RH than I have in the past to try to slow down the drying to develop more flavor.

The Kichenaid mixer is great for mixing small quantities for salame paste, pretty much what I made with the finocchietto, that is about 1 KG of meat/fat is the max it can handle. If you have more, as I did when making the Costco pork salame, you'll need to grind into a large bowl, and mix everything with a cutting and folding motion with your hands or a spatula. I'm demonstrating this in the movie below.

Looking forward to tasting these head to head. I'll report on them as soon as I can as usual!


Friday, September 7, 2007

A purchase-able fermentation box? It should work!

The Thermokool MR-138. Happened to find this while reading something else. People have used this for proofing bread dough, and it seems like it is very accurate and settable to temperatures needed for fermenting salamis. It claims to be able to go from 40-140 deg. F. It goes for about $90 + shipping, so it is more expensive, but all the work is done for you. Might be worth a try.

Humidity control shouldn't be a problem as long as it is well sealed (it should be). You want the humidity high when fermenting (80-90%). If it is too low, spraying some water with a spray bottle or putting a small bowl in the bottom should work. You can find it HERE.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Salame al Finocchietto - Wow that was quick!

It's only been 10 days since I put this salame in the curing chamber, but it's ready! I kept the chamber at 56 deg. F and a humidity of about 65%.

As of this morning, the weights of the salami have decreased as follows:
Salame A: 566g -> 321g a 43% loss in weight
Salame B: 596g -> 359g a 40% loss in weight.

So I took salame A, the one which had lost more weight, out of the curing chamber. As you can see there is no mold formation on the outside of my salame. I've never been able to figure this out. I have no idea why. I've even tried spraying the salame with distilled water in which I've mixed a moldy casing from a commercial salame...nothing! I must have a magical chamber which doesn't allow growth.

Anyhow, the aroma is very light, I can smell the fennel, and the black pepper, but not really strong. Cut into it:

You can see the medium fine grain, the nice distinct fat chunks and the black pepper and fennel seeds.
Flavor is very good. Very mild acidity, which is what I was going for, nice fennel flavor, but the black pepper is maybe just a touch too strong. I'd reduce it about 20% next time. Texture was good. A bit drier around the edges than in the middle, but this may change as it firms up after a few days in the fridge. I've found that a week or so in the fridge (sealed in a zip lock bag) allows the meat humidity to equalize across the diameter and the flavor seems to increase.

Overall I'm pleased. Simple flavors, good salame.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Salame al Finocchietto

Salame al finochietto translates to "salame with wild fennel seeds", which is exactly what I made last week. I was actually able to make this during the week by doing one or two steps every evening after work.

I wanted to make a simple salame to get back into the hang of things. This one is about as simple as it gets.

The meat and fat I used were not the usual parts of the pig. Normally I'd use pork shoulder, and fat back. This time I used ham meat and pork belly. It was really nice not to have to do much trimming of sinew from the shoulder, these were basically clean hunks of meat. Very convenient. The belly I used was only slightly meaty, as you'll see in the pictures. It is probably much easier for people get get pork belly, than fat back (unsalted), so let's see how it works out.

Unfortunately, because of the whole curing issue, I will not have a report on the flavors, texture and aromas for about 3-4 weeks. The picture above is of the salame before drying. So for now I'll give you the recipe and procedure I used.

One important note is that everything that touches the meat (grinder, stuffer, bowls, counters, hands etc.) should be very very clean. Remember you're not cooking this meat, and you're holding it at temperatures which would allow bacterial multiplication.

Salame al Finocchietto

900g ham meat
380g fatty pork belly
35g salt
6.5g fennel seed - crushed in mortar and pestle
6.5g dextrose
3.1g cure #2
3.5g coarsely ground black pepper
35g reduced wine (see below)
1g (about 1/4 tsp) F-RM-52 starter culture mixed in 30g distilled water with a pinch of dextrose

These are the nice pieces of pork ham meat. You can see they are rather lean, and free of connective tissue. Less trimming and waste for us!

The meat is cubed into approximately 1/2-3/4" cubes.

Here is our nice pork ham cubed up and ready for the grinder right after we add.......

The pork belly! You can see this belly is quite fatty. In fact, the leaner part on the right side of the picture attached to the lower portion, I removed and saved to braise. I used the fattiest portions of the pieces I had. Be sure not to use the pork skin!

Again, I cut them into about 1/2-3/4" batons or cubes.

I combined and mixed the meat and belly and spread on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer for 1-2 hours to get really cold, almost frozen. The surface should be a little "crunchy" from being frozen. You don't want it frozen solid or you won't be able to grind it.

I ground the meat using the 1/4" plate on the Kitchenaid grinder, and let it drop into the Kitchenaid bowl, then put it back in the freezer to chill again. (Don't leave it in there for longer than 1 hour or so)

In the mean time, I boiled 2 cloves of lightly smashed garlic in 1 cup of wine for about 10 minutes. It reduced to about 3/4 of a cup. I do this because when I used straight wine, without reducing, I could taste the alcohol in the salame. Boiling it evaporates the alcohol but retains the flavors of the wine.
During this time, I added the starter culture to 30-40g of room temperature distilled water in which I dissolved a pinch of dextrose. This is to wake those little buggers up!

I added everything to the ground meat except the starter culture, and using the paddle attachment (you could use your hands) I mixed the mixture. I paddled for 1 minute. I then added the starter culture/distilled water, and paddled for another 30-45 seconds to get a good bind. The meat paste should become tacky, but don't paddle so much that the meat and fat start smearing. You really want the fat globules to stay distinct. Of course I forgot to take a picture of the meat paste before stuffing. Next time.

For stuffing I used 43mm collagen rounds. This is an artificial casing which is soaked in warm water for about 15-20 minutes to soften. Stuff them until they are nicely full, but not super packed or they may burst. Try to stuff them with as few air pockets as possible. Tie them off into loops, and using a CLEAN toothpick poke the casing all over, trying to target any air pockets you may have.

From this batch I got almost exactly 2 full 43mm casings, one weighing 566g and one 596g. I had a little left over.

I matured them in my incubation chamber at 82 deg. F for 25 hours. This is based on experience. You might want to measure the meat past pH using pH papers.

This is what they look like after incubation. They are just a little more red, and have become a little "tighter" or "stiffer".

Now they get put into the curing chamber until they've lost about 30-40% of their weight. Which is why it is important that you measure the before-cure weight. This should take about 3-4 weeks.

As soon as I taste them I'll report on the taste as soon as I can!

Any questions or comments? Just ask away..let me know if you want even more detail or anything else.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Love Controls temperature switch

Yesterday I posted about using a Love Controls temperature switch to regulate the temperature of my incubation box. A comment was posted that the same control could be used to control the curing chamber, as long as it allowed heating and cooling control.

To be sure, i checked the instruction sheet, and this controller CAN be used for both heating and cooling, so this controller can be used instead of the Johnson Controls one, which is only for cooling. It is actually a little cheaper too at $50 + $10 or so for a thermocouple, but it will require you to do some wiring, and doesn't come in a nice neat box.

Thanks for mentioning this option.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Key equipment piece #4: The fermentation box

Well, maybe not really a "key equipment piece", but an important one nonetheless for making salame.

When making salame, a bacterial culture is added to the meat to inoculate it with a beneficial flora, rather than relying on random colonization and hoping for the best. This gives the salame flavor as well as protection against harmful bacteria. To assure that the bacteria added rapidly multiples, the salame has to be held at a certain temperature and high humidity before being dried, this is called the "fermentation" or "maturation" stage. The temperature is dependent on the bacteria added, and its optimal growth temperature. Various cultures can be found on butcher-packer's page, and they also have instructions for use there.
So, anyhow, the salame needs to be kept at a certain temperature and high humidity. In order to do this, I bought a large plastic storage container, added some hooks to the lid from which I can hang the salame, a light bulb for heat, and a small computer fan on some perforated pegboard to circulate the warm air.

To the left you can see my plastic box, and the lightbulb. I lined the corner of the box with foil to reflect the heat from the bulb.

Right below that picture you can see the pegboard with the fan in place.

The last important part of this box is something to control the temperature. If the light were to stay on the whole time it would get too hot, ruining our meat. I bought a thermocouple temperature switch which has a built in line voltage controller from Love Controls.

This controller is set for the target temperature, and it turns the bulb on and off. It is about $50 for a controller plus a little more for the thermocouple, but I bet a cheaper one could be found on Ebay.

Having said all that, this isn't really necessary. This can be done by putting the salami in a tupperware, and then in an oven with just the light bulb and leaving the door a little open. You'll need a thermometer and keep track of the temperature for a while at the start, but once you figure out what works for you and your oven, you should be fine.

Pretty much you want to put the salame somewhere where it can stay at a relatively steady temperature of about 70-85 deg. F (exact numbers depend on the bacteria you're using, and desired speed of fermentation), and be in a high humidity environment so it doesn't dry out. I'm sure you can figure out a simpler way to do it than what I did...I just set it up like this to be able to specify an exact temperature and have it be repeatable every time. The temperature of your fermentation and how long you leave it will have a profound effect on the final flavor.

The amount of time you ferment is dependent on your temperature, you must get the pH of the meat paste below 5.1 within 36-48 hours. Most of the time I ferment for 24 hours. I urge you to read "Charcuterie" or "Cooking by Hand", as they can explain the process and timing much more clearly than I can, and I don't want to be held responsible for improperly cured salame getting someone sick. Look in my books list for these two books, they're books you should own anyhow, if you're into curing or sausages.